Local Government Minister Simon Clarke has written to all councils in England to ensure that family members can attend the funerals of their loved ones and that the wishes of the deceased are respected during this pandemic.
The government has consistently been clear that it is important that funerals are not delayed and take place in line with social distancing guidelines – to protect both those attending and staff.
In a letter to councils, Clarke asked all local authorities to work with faith groups and funeral directors to develop safe, sensitive and innovative ways for funerals to take place.
He praised the majority of councils who are already working hard to ensure that family members can attend the funerals of their loved ones and that the wishes of the deceased are respected during this pandemic.
Many councils across the country have already introduced innovative approaches to support the wishes of the bereaved and create the closest experience to a normal cremation or burial as possible whilst keeping crematoria staff and those attending funerals of loved ones safe.
Secretary of State Robert Jenrick said: “It is only right that families have a final opportunity to pay their last respects to those they love at this incredibly difficult time.
“Close family must be able to attend funerals in person during this pandemic and can safely do so by following in line with social distancing guidelines. We will continue to work closely with councils to ensure that safe and sensitive measures are put in place all across the country.”
Clarke added: “Nobody wants to have to consider funeral plans for a loved one at this difficult time – but it’s important that funerals are not delayed. Many councils have already put in place innovative arrangements so funerals can take place in a safe and sensitive fashion.
“I want all councils to consider how best to facilitate funerals so close family can attend and mourn their loved ones in an appropriate way. This will help to ensure that people can be laid to rest with dignity, and that their final wishes and beliefs are respected while we protect the public from the spread of coronavirus.”